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EVs on the Edge


GM Disappoints with Lower ‘Volt’age as Restricted Initial Production Announced

July 12th 2010

Energy Topics - Volt

Well, it is finally here, kind of. The answer to oil consumption , the cure for crude, the break from a dependency that has arguably guided the United State’s foreign policy for decades; Chevrolet announced that its electric vehicle for the everyman, the Volt, will be put into proto-production late this year, and many become for sale in 2011. The immediate outlook, however, is not as clear as the emissions the Volt will produce. Chevrolet will only have ten thousand produced for sale in 2011 in just a few states and coast-to-coast demand has for years been vastly greater. In other words, the Volt will be a vehicle of token production until at least 2012, betraying years of promises to unleash abundant production for a market that already enjoys more than 53,000 advance waiting list names. The vehicle is years late.

As a point of reference, Chevrolet sold 21,000 Malibus just last month. Granted, Malibu is the company’s most popular car, but given the demand for hybrid vehicles, ones that use both gas and electric motors simultaneously, with 940,000 electrics expected to be sold this year, Chevy’s entrance into the market with an electric plug-in vehicle with such a small run will surely disappoint more than it excites.

The Volt combines a pure electric vehicle with an internal combustion engine. It runs solely on battery but it switches to conventional liquid flex-fuel-powered vehicle after forty miles, thus extending its range to hundreds of miles. The average vehicle in America drives only 25 miles per day and the majority approximately 35 miles per day.

The Volt has just completed a long-range drive from Austin, Texas to New York City from July 1st though the 4th, to demonstrate the range and test the excitement. The “Chevrolet Volt Freedom Drive” took the electric vehicle 1776 miles, fitting for the Independence Day celebration, and successfully showed that a driver can rely on the silent motor for both, a daily commute and a cross country trip.

At an expected introductory price nearing $40 thousand, the Volt’s limited run will be a test to see if its all-American label can attract buyers. In the meantime, the less expensive and equally anticipated Nissan Leaf EV, as well as Chinese electrics are getting ready to bite into the market at the end of 2010.
As those first Volts start rolling off the restricted assembly lines, expect the waiting list to be interminable long, and the first copies zapped from the showroom floors faster than a discount Tesla Roadster. It remains to be seen whether the Volt will ever be a serious contender or simply be short-circuited by competitors who want to sell as many cars as they can as fast as they can.

Juda Engelmayer is an executive with the NY PR agency, 5W Public Relations and a contributor to the Cutting Edge News.

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